Arsenal will have everything to fight for when it takes on Chelsea in the FA Cup final at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday.
Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, which finished eighth in the Premier League, will be able to seal a spot in the Europa League if it can get the better of Frank Lampard’s side.
Lampard, who steered Chelsea to a fourth-place finish and a slot in th Champions League, will also be eager to win his first silverware as manager.
– Here to win it, says Lampard –
The result arguably means more to Arsenal, who need to win to qualify for the Europa League, but Lampard said Chelsea would not take its foot off the gas having already sealed Champions League qualification.
“We have to make sure we are not negatively affected by having qualified for the Champions League,” added Lampard, who won the FA Cup four times as a player.
“It doesn’t affect preparations, we still want to win it. A trophy like this stays with you for life and you’re quickly forgotten if you’re a losing finalist.
“If you get to a final you want to win it. It will be difficult, many a great manager haven’t won things but now we are here, I want to win it.”
Chelsea will be boosted by the return of influential duo N’Golo Kante and Willian, who have both recovered from injuries.
– Past results don’t matter to Arteta –
Mikel Arteta feels Arsenal’s heavy loss to Chelsea in last season’s Europa League final will not play on his players’ minds ahead if the FA Cup final.
Arsenal was outclassed 4-1 by Chelsea in the Europa League final in Baku last year when the two sides were managed by Unai Emery and Maurizio Sarri respectively.
However, Arteta, who took over from Emery in December, was confident Saturday’s clash will have a different outcome.
“A year in football is a different life,” Arteta said. “Even two weeks or three days later you can see a team performing one way then they can be a different team so there is not many things to take from that.”
The Spaniard acknowledged the gulf in class between the two sides as Frank Lampard’s Chelsea finished 10 points ahead of the Gunners in the Premier League.
However, Arteta insisted Arsenal would not be overawed by the occasion as it chases a record-extending 14th FA Cup triumph.
“I always say that the league table doesn’t lie too much. You can look at some decisions, even in the games that we played together, where we could have the gap a little bit smaller,” he said.
“…Our only aim and all our energy is going to be on winning that trophy, it doesn’t matter where we start. They are playing at a really good level but we are going to go for it,” he added.